Be Careful When Counting Stars

  I have no problem admitting it – I’m that guy. The one who, at Christmas time, already knows what he plans to purchase his wife for Christmas. Not only that, I’m also that guy who sits back and laughs at those “poor bumbling fools” fighting traffic and crowds at malls and box retailers. “Why do they do this to themselves?”, I ask. “Haven’t they ever heard of the internet!?” It’s so beautifully simple and easy: No crowds. No parking. No driving. Heck, you don’t even have to get out of your PJs!

  But they always fight it. “How do I know what I’m getting if I don’t go to a store and check it out before I buy it?”

To that, I drop some simple knowledge. Fact is, contrary to popular belief, online shopping was created by and for men. How can you tell? Simple – look at the overall shopping habits of men. We go to a store, knowing before hand what we want, grab it and leave. A majority of the time, we rely on the knowledge of at least one other man (usually a relative or trusted friend) who has some knowledge about the thing we’re going to buy when deciding our purchase. Or sometimes it’s a man who we trust in his field (and by trust in his field, I mean a guy who’s got a TV show. He has a show – he has to know what he’s talking about, right?). With that in mind, I always check the user / consumer ratings of a product being sold online to gauge whether or not I will purchase. And I encourage others to do so.

  Now keep in mind, there is a science to this. Just because a product has a 5-star rating doesn’t mean it’s worth your hard earned cash if there are only 10 people rating it. Your freshman Statistics class will alert your Spidey Senses enough to know that’s not a reliable population pool. You need enough of a pool to convince you in the same way your relative, trusted friend, or respected  TV Guru would.

  For those of you who don’t know, I love to cook. I’m mainly grill centered (no gas!!), but I love cooking all around. Fortunately for me, I was blessed with a wife who loves to cook as well. She’s gifted with the skill of custom cakes and deserts (for years, she’s been the go-to for birthday cakes for the kids in our families), and she frequently surprises me with new meal recipes. We’ve been together for quite some time – about 18 years, 14 married. We’ve seen our share of cookware throughout those years.

  For several years, we had the same cookware. Nothing too fancy. But it had had it’s time, and my wife began dropping hints about a new set. So in 2012, I made the logical decision to purchase a new set.

  But, I didn’t want to get her just any set. I wanted a set to knock her socks off. I wanted it to be beautiful stainless steel to match all of our other kitchen tools. I also wanted it to be nice enough to give the feel of professional cooking without being too overly expensive. I dove head first into my go-to online shopping source, Amazon, looking for that perfect set. I read review after review. I compared prices. I read reviews from other sources about some of the Amazon offerings. Finally, I found the perfect set.

So I thought….

  The perfect set I settled on was this beautiful 28pc 12-Element Stainless Steel Cookware Set. And, when I say beautiful, I mean this set can really class up any kitchen! The box and description informs that it’s a $1100 value (should have been a red flag for me), and upon my wife’s opening it on Christmas day 2012 I could agree. 100%! Simply stunning!

At fist…

  Soon, there was water dripping from seams after washing and subsequent cooking. And regardless of how low and slow you cook, EVERYTHING sticks the majority of uses. Ultimately, within months, we ended up with this:

  Talk about disappointment. After all, I counted the stars on Amazon –

Customer Reviews

   Yet I was horribly let down. My wife eventually told me, “You know, I really hate cooking with that skillet”. Sadly, so do I. This set does come with a “Lifetime Replacement Warranty”, but you can’t simply send back the item(s) you need replaced. You have to box up the entire set and send it back, and you’ll receive an over-all replacement. Why don’t I just do that? Put simply,
                                              Ain’t nobody got time for that!

   So will this be the end to my online shopping habits? No. In all actuality, this is the first time I’ve ever felt burned by it. One could also easily argue that I ignored the negative reviews that mentioned the same thing I experienced with this set. However, there will always be negative reviews about any product. So I used the approach that I normally use – I counted the stars, using the good:bad ratio. This time it just didn’t work out in my favor. As such, in less than a year, I’m purchasing new cookware. Only this time, I’ve done it the old fashioned way – I actually went to a store. 
   Have you ever “counted the stars” to make on online shopping decision, only to be disappointed later? Please feel free to share in comments!


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